Here’s today’s wonderful excerpt from Bambi Lynn. It comes from Lucan in her Gods of the Highlands series.
He was bone tired and deafened by the constant ringing in his ears. His arms ached. His lungs threatened to burst with the struggle to breathe. But Lucan fought like a man possessed. He was covered in blood, none of it his own. He parried and spun, blocking and hacking. Behind him, Camulus was a killing machine. He took down one man after another, a claymore in one hand, a billhook in the other.
Follow along next week by checking out Jenna Jaxon’s blog with excerpt #9
Neala Comyn, wife of a powerful laird, wants to end the pain and suffering of an abusive marriage. She is a woman without hope, believing God has forsaken her. When she is kidnapped by a rival laird who claims to be a god himself, her faith is further shaken. Could Lucan Munro be the salvation she has prayed for? Or will her sins condemn her to eternal damnation?
Lucan Munro, has the power of a Celtic god. He can conjure his heart’s desire from thin air. But can he save the woman he loves from a demon hell-bent on claiming her soul?
All my stories have theme songs that go with them. I’ve never had a song in mind at the time I start writing but at some point I’ll hear something on the radio or my phone that will resonate with the plot or characters and that’ll be the song for that book.
Once I’ve got the song in my head it’s a useful way of getting into the mood for writing after a break (the curse of the part time writer) or getting out of the occasional block. I can put it on, sing along and remind myself what grabbed me about it. I can also amuse myself by imagining the film trailer using them when Hollywood comes calling.
I’ve mentioned what the song is in the author’s note for each book and way back when I started writing I posted the song for my first book but I thought it would be fun to put them all in one place.
Falling for Her Captor
Something rocky to start with. A hero who has buried himself inside the job he has to do for the man he hates to serve. I love the opening chords on the organ, it sounds very Medieval.
‘You take what they give you And you keep it inside Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home Hear the soldier groan we’ll got it at alone
I can taste the fear Lift me up and take me out of here Don’t want to fight, don’t want to die Just want to hear you cry’
A Wager for the Widow
A bit of The Boss. If I had to choose an all time favourite song this would probably be it.
‘Don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again Don’t run back inside, darling, you know just what I’m here for So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re alright Oh, and that’s alright with me
You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain Waste your summer praying in vain For a savior to rise from these streets.’
Second chances, taking risks, a slow build to that intensely growly moment when the harmony kicks in, and Bruce. What’s not to love?
The Blacksmith’s Wife
A marriage of convenience deserves a song of repressed and unrequited love. This one is sung by the highly distinctive voice of Stevie Nicks.
‘Don’t keep me hangin’ on a string Tell me what I feel is no big thing Don’t turn away I’m listening Over and over again
Don’t give me visions to explain There are no doubts I feel the strain Of all my senses yearning Over and over again
Every day I see you Every day I need you Every way I breathe you On and on and on and on again… again.‘
The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge
Two lovers who thought they’d never meet again. Reunited on opposite sides of a conflict. A mission of vengeance. Time for a power ballad!
‘I finished crying in the instant that you left But I can’t remember where or when or how And I banished every memory you and I had ever made! But when you touch me like this And you hold me like that I just have to admit That it’s all coming back to me.
When I touch you like this And I hold you like that It’s so hard to believe but It’s all coming back to me now.‘
Redeeming the Rogue Knight
I do have a song but I’m saving it for now. When I get a cover I’ll share it. Here’s the blurb. If you think you know what it is, let me know in the comments.
And there you have it. The songs from the stories (or perhaps more accurately, the stories from the songs). Hope you’ve enjoyed listening to them. If you have other songs you think would suit the stories or characters I’d love to hear them.
We’re halfway through the Villains theme. Are you enjoying it? I know I’m loving getting to read and share some great excerpts. Today’s comes from The Highlander’s English Woman by Ruth A. Casie
Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.
Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.
Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.
“Then we best return to the others. They’ll want to spend time with you, too.” They moved on toward the hall.
“I have no words, nothing to say to comfort you.” He could barely get the words out.
“Your presence is enough.”
He held back a nervous smile. He visited to give the family comfort. Instead, she comforted him.
“How are my Maxwell cousins?” Laura asked. Jamie guided her toward the great hall.
“They are well when I last saw them.”
Follow along next week by checking out Jenna Jaxon’s blog for excerpt #7
Today I’m delighted to share an excerpt from The Highlander’s French Bride by Cathy McRae.
Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.
Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.
Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover nothing more than a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.
“As poor a mother as I may be, I do not wish to raise my daughter in such a world as I live in. She is old enough to interest some men who are fascinated by young girls. In my position, I would not be able to deny them.”
Melisende’s eyes widened in horror. “She is scarcely three years old! Please tell me . . .” She could not say the words, and her hand flew to her throat, attempting to relieve a choking sensation.
Lucienne shook her head. “Non. But it would be only a matter of time. I have seen the looks.”
“Lucienne, you do not have to go back.”
* * *
Follow along for the next excerpt on Jenna Jaxon’s Medieval Monday blog March 20!
Today I am so pleased to have Harlequin and Mills and Boon author Elisabeth Hobbes chatting with me, so take a seat and let’s get to know a bit more about Elisabeth.
You can find me hanging around The Unlaced Bookclub on Facebook along with other Harlequin Historical authors. I grew up in York where I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly it never happened but I developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching. I live in Cheshire with my husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down here in 1999 and I never left. I love historical fiction and have a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When I’m…
Are you enjoying the Villain theme? Here’s another excerpt, this time from Angel’s assassin by Laurel O’Donnell.
Roke grinned, leaning back in his chair. “You see? No one but you would dare to speak to me thus. So I waited. I am, if nothing else, a patient man. And then came that day. So long ago. So very long ago. When I sent you out to kill Margaret.”
Margaret? For a moment, Damien didn’t know of whom he spoke. He had killed many in his years of servitude to Roke. Margaret. Then he realized. He was speaking of Aurora’s mother.
“I remember you came back after killing her and there was something different about you.”
Damien forced himself to relax even though every fiber in his body remembered. It was even more painful now, realizing he had killed Aurora’s mother, that he had hurt Aurora by taking her mother’s life.
Blurb:Damien is an assassin, a man with no home and a tortured past. Sold into slavery as a young boy, he is trained to kill with cold calculation, without remorse. As a reward for his ruthless success, he is given a chance to earn his freedom from his cruel master. One last mission. One final person to slay…
Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness, beloved by all her people. She lives her life trying to atone for her mother’s cruelty by being a fair and just ruler. Secretly she fears that one day her mother’s murderer will return for her.
When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.
Can Aurora’s light heal Damien’s dark spirit or will his evil consume her? The eternal battle of good versus evil, love versus hate, dark versus light, all come to a shattering climax in this historical romance set in medieval England.
Another Monday which means time for another excerpt in our Villains theme. Today’s comes from The Lady of the Forest by Barbara Bettis.
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
“Remain and celebrate, or leave my property,” Sir Mortimer taunted.
Henry’s gaze caught Kate’s. Her eyes were wide, her lips parted, her cheeks pale. Revelation of the order had stunned her as much as it had him.
Her glance moved to Ulah, then Jamie, before returning to Henry in appeal. Damnation, why hadn’t he planned for such a turn?
Behind him stood Bernard and Declan, three of them against at least a score in the hall. Outside, Windom’s eight fighters faced equally overwhelming odds. Could Stonehill’s original force be counted on to join them?
Without more men, what could he do?
He darted a look over his shoulder. Declan winked.
By God! He’d try. But would it work?
“Lady Katherine cannot marry you.” Henry’s voice carried throughout the hall. “She’s wedded to me.”
Are you enjoying the new style Medieval Monday? I’m loving sharing the posts and following them around. This week’s excerpt comes from Dragon Knight’s Shield by Mary Morgan
Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.
Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.
Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?
“Raise the portcullis!” Angus’s order did not allow for any argument.
Releasing his brother, he walked to the entrance. Hearing the grate of steel being lifted, Angus let the fire dance along his fingers. Fear clawed at man and dragon as he waited for the monster to show himself.
In moments, Angus, horrified, watched Lachlan walk through the portcullis, clutching Deirdre’s bloodied arm while holding a blade to her back. She stumbled forward, and he pulled her back by her braid. His heart slammed inside his chest and it took all of Angus’s strength not to bring out the fire dragon. Blind rage filled him as the man’s laughter echoed all around him.
Follow along next week by checking out Jenna Jaxon’s blog with excerpt #4 https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/ and remember to come back here to see who I’m hosting next week.
Welcome back to Week 2 of the villains theme. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Ashley York’s The Gentle Knight.
Mort gave him a disgusted look. “You have ridden us hard, my lord. I believe I am not the only one who thinks so.”
“You’re complaining?” Peter tipped back for a second swallow.
Mort locked his jaw then walked through the door at the far corner.
One small window faced the road with enough grime on it to convince Peter that although the place was quiet now, it was not always so. A sure sign they would be able to meet all his required services.
BLURB: Brighit MacNaughton is an obedient daughter following her father’s death bed decree that she take her vows and become the virginal bride of Christ. The hired men seeing her to the Priory at Tanshelf are more interested in the building resentment against the English king than her safety. But when the handsome Norman knight offers his protection against the lecherous mercenaries, he sparks her passion with his gentle touch and smoldering looks of desire, reminding her of dreams best forgotten. Can one night with him quench the intense need in her or will it cause the fire to burn out of control?
Peter of Normandy is a trusted knight of King William, sent north to subdue the unrest and rumblings of revolt at York. Giving aid to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he is quickly overcome with the need to possess her. With a body meant for a man’s pleasure and an unrelenting stubbornness to follow her father’s wishes, he struggles against giving her what she wants if it can only be for one night. Will one night of passion prove to be enough or will it unleash an insatiable need that makes him never want to let her go?
‘I’m glad I caught you, Elisabeth. I’ve got a proposal for you…’
Words to stir anyone’s heart. In this case not from Tom Hiddleston (I keep hoping) but the librarian at Macclesfield Library where I do my Tuesday morning writing session. She asked me if I would be interested in taking part in the Romance on the Road campaign organised jointly by Mills & Boon, The Reading Agency and the Mobile Library Service.
Mills & Boon have had a long involvement with mobile libraries but I didn’t know until I started looking into the campaign that Charles Boon, one of the founders, worked in a mobile library before going into partnership and starting the publishing house.
With all that in mind, and the chance to spread the Mills & Boon love for Valentine’s Day, how could I resist!
As a result, earlier this week found me out bright and early in Cheshire , heading down country lanes that got smaller and more twisty to meet up with Jon and the mobile library. While over 70 mobile libraries are taking part in the event around the country, Cheshire East has been chosen to be one of the ‘Fabulous Five’ with stickers, balloons,sashes for the driver, and gifts to give out to library users.
Our first rendezvous was in the car park of the Badger Inn Church Minshull . I waited, hoping I was in the right place and before long the car park had filled up with a group of eager readers, waiting with piles of books. I can imagine that if I lived there the tri-weekly visit would be a real highlight for me. I was excited even waiting once! The library van arrived decorated with stickers and a poster with my books in the window, the doors slid open and in we went to be greeted with bunting and shiny pink padded envelopes.
I had taken along some of my books to discuss and the villagers were particularly impressed with the cover of The Blacksmith’s Wife, especially when I mentioned I had asked for Aidan Turner as the cover model. They told me that inspired by the recent BBC adaption of Poldark, the village had got together and created a calendar featuring village men in Poldark-y poses. So far they’ve raised over £2000 which is incredible!
It was wonderful to meet such an enthusiastic crowd and I’m half tempted to move there, if only so I can join the ballroom dancing class!
If you’re wondering what I’m holding in the photos, they’re Valentine’s gifts that Mills & Boon had sent along. I had a box of packages waiting for me inside the library. It was very hard not to peek to find out which books were inside!
The residents of Church Minshull went off for their regular post-library coffee in the pub while I looked on enviously. While we waited for time to leave, we made a display of some of the copies of Mills & Boon titles that were in the library van.
Our next stops were at the two ends of Home Farm Park in Lea where we met residents who live on the park permanently (I was super impressed with Jon’s ability to reverse park in such small spots). It was a warm, sunny day so it was nice to stand around with light streaming in through the library door and be able to chat to borrowers (of library books, not small people living under the floorboards). One of the visitors told me her daughter lives just outside Macclesfield and is a keen reader of historical so I was pleased to be able to give her a copy of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge which is set in the area. We spent some time discussing our favourite historical authors and browsing the shelves (the library is impressively stocked with something to suit everyone- a real TARDIS).
I recommended my favourite author and managed to pick up a copy of a book I’ve been searching for in the process (well I couldn’t spend a morning in a library and not leave with something).
The van had to move on to the next stop and I needed to get back to carry on writing my new story. Before I said goodbye I did get to wear the sash that I had been coveting since I arrived.
The van goes out on three-weekly timetables around villages in Cheshire. The promotion is running until the 14th February and there are still plenty of gift bags to collect before Valentine’s Day itself so keep an eye out for the van with pink stickers heading your way!
Thank you Cheshire East Libraries for inviting me along. I had a lovely morning and it was great to see how well the library was used. I’m lucky to have always lived in towns where there is a library and made great use of it, from nipping in on the way home from school as a teenager to fill in time before the bus (and often missing the next as a result of getting absorbed in a book) to taking my own young children as welcome moment of sanity amid sleepless nights and PND. Not everyone is so lucky to have a library on their doorstep and the Mobile Library Service provides a wonderful way of accessing books for those living too far to get to one regularly. With funding cuts and libraries being threatened increasingly with closure, keeping services like this going will be so important to people living in more isolated areas.
Libraries, exploring and Mills & Boon- three of my favourite things in one day!
The Reading Agency is a charity whose aim is to inspire more people to read. They do a superb job of encouraging people of all ages to pick up a book and targeting groups who might not have access otherwise. You can find out more of what they do here.